Editorial of special issue on 'transport, gender, culture'

Elsevier, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Volume 144, February 2021, pp.34-36
Dorina Pojani, Lake Sagaris, and Enrica Papa

Modern cities and their transport systems appear to be built to benefit able-bodied men belonging to privileged socio-economic groups. Women and feminised “others” often fall through the cracks. Barriers fall into four main categories (Loukaitou-Sideris, 2020):

(1)    cultural, such as women’s primary responsibility for care duties, and religious or other social norms that may limit women’s access to public transit or cycling;
(2)    economic, particularly lack of access to a private car, the predominant transport mode globally, and a generally curtailed accessibility, particularly for low-income households;
(3)    physical, particularly lack of safe, attractive and direct infrastructure networks for walking and cycling; and
(4)    psychological, the double burden of fear of crime combined with gender violence.

While this general framework is very helpful in differentiating the patterns of men and women, conditions vary widely by cultural and social-economic setting, or individual and group variables. Hence, case studies which offer rich detail on various contexts are warranted.

The authors for this special issue have been motivated to explore gender and mobility issues by both professional curiosity and personal interest. The six articles draw on international case studies, including the Americas and Europe, which provide important insights into the depth and extent of gender impacts on transport, and vice versa. Research based in Latin America (Colombia and Chile) dominates this Special Issue, reflecting a powerful upsurge in social movements for women’s rights and specific cultural norms as they affect women’s mobility and with it, their access to social goods and services. These experiences have generated an active and engaged response from researchers, particularly in the social sciences, who have sought to better understand and overcome problems, including sexism, machismo, and misogyny, but also indifference.